Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bookanista Feature: Franny Billingsley's CHIME

The Bookanistas are a group of writers - in various stages of the publishing process – who have decided to band together and review the special books of our peers.  No negative reviews here! We post every Thursday and cover various topics– upcoming ARCs, books we love, special diamonds in the rough, classics, and even cover reviews.

CHIME by Franny Billingsley

I read this book out of desperation. Seriously. I didn't intend to read it at all. It didn't seem like "my" kind of book--the cover looks a little angsty, and the back description didn't hook me. But a friend pressed it into my hands after she heard that I'd run out of books to read on an airplane trip (I'd only packed one book, and should have packed three), and she insisted I would love CHIME.

And dang was she right.

CHIME is gorgeous. It's rich and vivid in language and description, it's brilliantly crafted in plot.

CHIME is one of the best books I have ever read in my life.


I'm not talking about this year. I'm talking about EVER. 

Reasons why I loved CHIME:
  • The magic is dark and twisted and scary, but vividly realistic
  • The main character, Briony, is riddled with guilt, but rightfully so--but she's not angst-ridden or stupid or even self-hating. She accepts that what she did was wrong, and she strives to make up for it.
  • The love interest is a genuine love interest. Their relationship starts as a friendship and develops over MONTHS of talk and mutual attraction. This isn't silly I-love-him-because-he's-hot. This is what true love is.
  • There is sacrifice. There is GREAT sacrifice. Not everything ends with a shiny bow on top, and the story is so much more real because of it.
  • This book reads like a Grimm fairy tale. Not like a Disney one. There is a difference.
  • The language is just amazing. Voice exudes from the pages. You can absolutely picture the entire world just from the dialect of the writing.
  • The plot is twisty, but solvable. The ending doesn't come out of left field, but it's something you have to think about, too.
  • The book requires your focus--but you will enjoy giving your undivided attention to it.
  • CHIME will haunt you in the way all good stories haunt you, hovering around and poking at your conscious long after you close the cover.
CHIME is one of the few books that I would unreservedly present to someone. It needs no corollary. It simply IS one of the best books I've read.


Other Bookanista Features Today:
Kirsten Hubbard celebrates JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD and THE MOCKINGBIRDS
Elana Johnson gives a little love to JOEY FLY 2: PRIVATE EYE
Beth Revis chimes in on CHIME
Lisa and Laura Roecker rave about BOOKS THEY’RE DYING TO READ
Carolina Valdez Miller looks ahead to JANUARY RELEASES
Bethany Wiggins fawns over Firelight
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